On our third day we woke up late in the morning (as has become a concerning tendency of ours now) and decided to attempt catching a ferry into the city, from a river side location near to our apartment, to see one of Bangkok’s biggest and best known temples – Wat Po.
But unfortunately, our ferry hunt was completely fruitless, and in place of finding a boat that was actually willing to take us up the Chao Phraya river.. we just ended up wasting the large part of a day standing stupidly on a makeshift pier watching the river traffic pass us by..
And what’s more, by the time we finally gave up we figured we’d never make it into the city before the temples closed (all of the major tourist sights seem to close at an early 5pm in Bangkok.. I think this might have something to do with keeping the notorious night life out of the cities places of worship)… so we gave up our cultural intentions completely, hopped into a taxi, and headed back to Khao San Road instead.
On this visit to the K Road area though we did branch out a little further than our first visit. And we enjoyed a late lunch, a few drinks, and also, as it got later, some dinner, on the streets that run alongside Khao San.
And it turns out that these streets, although still crowded with tourists, and still extremely westernised, were much nicer than K Road itself.
There were far more live bands here (as opposed to loud speakers blasting the UK top 40..), a few less generic clothing stalls, and overall just somewhat of a more mature vibe going on..
It was nice to sit, and have a couple beers, and listen to the Asian bands play Western songs – most of them excellently concealing their accents in the process.
On this day (assuming I can remember the sequence of everything correctly..) we did make it to Wat Po Temple.
And.. it was.. Stunning.
The temples in Thailand are just so otherworldly. So Gothic. Yet so brightly coloured and reflective under the hot Thai sun.
And the complex of Wat Po, was huge!
There were several buildings and multiple temples with various Buddha and Bodhisattva monuments inside.
There was the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ architecture. There were buildings small and large. And, there were crazy looking memorials everywhere, with spires reaching up into the sky.
And at Wat Po there is also a specialist training school for Thai massage on site… So naturally we were enticed, and each lay down for an hour long full body massage… A decision that I don’t necessarily regret giving a go..but that I wouldn’t do again..
It hurt.. Quite a lot. And at several points during my “massage” I very nearly screamed out for the lady to stop altogether. She dug her thin fingers and sharp knuckles mercilessly into every sensitive joint that she could find on my body. She ‘popped’ all of my fingers and toes out of their sockets (a feeling which I generally loath, but which was at its worst when she pulled my long ago broken toe out of place…). And she put me into a bunch of twisted positions that I could have easily accomplished myself, had I been actively seeking discomfort…
And although Sam reported that his massage was not completely painful.. he too agreed that it was not at all the magical experience we had been hoping for..
But regardless, we managed to spend a whole day exploring Wat Po. And It is definately a well worth it “must see” for visitors in Bangkok city.. Just think twice about the massage if your feeling tender..